During my recent weekend trip to Philly, I cajoled several of my friends to go to Jose Garces' Garces Trading Co. It was close to the hotel and I had heard good things about this casual spot. As you may or may not know, Jose Garces is the most recently named Iron Chef on the Food Network, and owns a few places in Philly.
Dining Room/pastry area in the back
As you can see, this place is much more than a restaurant - there's a cheese section off to one side, a full pastry retail area in the back, and a wine cellar on the opposite side of the restaurant. Housemade coffee, olive oils, and other items are also available for sale. There's a lot to look at inside the space while perusing the menu to eat.
We started with a basket- or box, rather- of bread and olive oil, both house-made. V. yummy- the olive oil was strong and spicy, which I really liked with the light-tasting bread. A little sprinkle of salt to finish, yum.
My friends split one of the cheese plates, which everyone seemed to enjoy. The condiments that came with the cheese were interesting, especially the one garlic dulce de leche... yup, you read that right! Sounds scary, yes, but really interesting! I liked it, I think it's definitely a tasty companion to cheese.
Everyone else got pizzas and sandwiches to share- I decided to go with the 3-course brunch menu, haha. The items looked interesting, and I thought it'd be a good chance to try out what the restaurant has to offer. There are a good number of menu choices in both the appetizer and entree section so it was hard to choose just one from each section. Drink, appetizer, entree, and dessert for $25 - not too shabby!
I started with a rosemary lemonade to drink, which was really herb-y and delicious. Super refreshing! For my appetizer I went with the salmon tartare - which I unfortunately forgot to take menu notes on, and is not on the online menu. So...it's a salmon tartare.......haha. It was really delicious, especially with the spice from the microgreens mixed in.
Lyonnaise Duck Salad: duck confit, poached egg, bacon lardons, mustard vinaigrette
I could've gone with a more traditional brunch option for my entree selection, but I couldn't pass up DUCK + BACON haha. Super elegant presentation, perfectly poached egg, and LOTS of duck in the salad. Really decadent, probably too decadent to eat every day, but hey, go for it if you want, haha!
Ok clearly taking notes wasn't exactly a priority since I was there with friends, talking the whole time, haha. I chose this raspberry + lemon cake dessert, which I cannot remember the name of. It was good, but nothing really special, to be honest. I liked the decorations on the top though, v. pretty.
Overall, a great brunch with great friends! I would love to have a place like this near my apartment - you can pop in and pick up items for dinner/picnics, or come in to sit and eat in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. Loves it!
Garces Trading Company
1111 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107